Meet Nick Montealegre and Cameron Klippsten partners at the hotspot sbe’s Doheny Room in West Hollywood! We got a chance to sit down and chat with the entrepreneurs, and all around just really cool guys.
HOW DID YOU END UP IN THE CAREER THAT YOU HAVE NOW?
Nick: When I graduated college in 2004, I moved back to LA from Santa Barbara and wasn’t too impressed with the nightlife scene here in Los Angeles. I felt a few friends and I could organize better parties than what we were going to. We secured a meeting with the Roosevelt Hotel which was re-launching and convinced them to let us help throw the Friday night at the Tropicana / Pool. On our first night, we secured Paris Hilton & Lindsay Lohan to come out. The parking lot was flooded with people trying to get in, and the buzz around it was huge. From that point I never looked back. As a result, here I am years later at sbe, a worldwide entertainment and nightlife company, as director of nightlife.
Cameron: After going to College for Film and TV in Connecticut, at Quinnipiac University. I returned to Los Angeles where I grew up. I had a brief stint in real estate and then pursued acting. While doing so I was always a man about town, and one of my best friends Devin Lucien was blowing up on the DJ scene. I would always just be out and about with him, and quickly got to know most people in the nightlife and the hospitality industry. Things fell into place from there.
DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO WORK IN THIS INDUSTRY?
Nick: No. I originally wanted to work in the music industry. I had actually tried starting my own record label called Blockready Records and signed a hip-hop artist at the time, but in the era of Napster, it didn’t go so well.
Cameron: Not necessarily. It kind of just fell in my lap.
HOW DID YOU BECOME PARTNERS?
Nick: It was clear the Doheny Room concept needed a personality that could embody the vibe of the venue & dedicate time on-site being the so-called “Mayor,” so to speak, “shaking hands & kissing babies.” I knew Cameron from the local circuit, running in the same social circles and often meeting on the basketball court. I liked his vibe and style, and noticed he’s just an all around cool guy that people want to hang out with. When I reached out to him about the concept for the venue, I was confident he was the perfect person to partner with on this entity. Any successful venue is a brand, with its own unique niche and vibe, like Cameron. I was thrilled when he was interested and was ultimately on board to launch it with us.
Cameron: I remember the Day clearly. I was driving up Beachwood Drive, when I got a random call from Nick with a proposition for me to become his partner, and “The Face” of a new Bar that was going to be opening called Doheny Room. I was pursuing acting, and working other side jobs at the time, So I decided.. Why not get something more stable? Best decision I ever made.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING TOGETHER?
Nick: It’s been about 2.5 years now. Beside Los Angeles, we launched a Miami location in the Delano, within the sbe portfolio.
Cameron: It’s been about 2 ½ yrs.
WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF YOUR JOB, AND WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING?
Nick: The most challenging aspect is just maintaining the product while keeping it fresh. In this fast consumer culture, people are always looking for the “next”, the “new”. Being a venue that’s open 4 nights a week with similar programming, you’re hoping to offer something unique that lends itself to making regulars out of great people. The rewarding part is when people really enjoy themselves and let loose and tell me that Doheny Room is the only place they enjoy frequenting in LA.
Cameron: Most challenging I would say is keeping the marathon going night after night. Los Angeles likes to party… and we are always there for those that want to have a good time. Most rewarding part for me is seeing the same people come back night after night since we opened because the Vibe is That Good!
WHERE DO YOU LOOK FOR INSPIRATION TO CONTINUE TO KEEP THINGS FRESH AND NEW AT THE DOHENY ROOM?
Nick: We look to our chefs & bartenders who create our seasonal specials and keep the food & cocktail menu fresh. With regards to the upstairs, it’s really all about the music. We have a group chat with our resident DJs (Métty, Bee Fowl, Bobby French, Tony Martinez) and we share certain songs old & new that fit the Doheny musical programming. Its very eclectic so even a classic song you know may seem fresh & new if you’ve never heard it in a Nightlife setting before. The old-school house party vibe guests experience is really unmatched in LA.
Cameron: We draw Inspiration from classics. It all starts with the music. I love bringing out old “Cam Jams” that people may not recognize at first but bring back some nostalgia and get the party going. You won’t hear the same music in Doheny Room that you do anywhere else in LA.
WHEN YOU ARE NOT AT THE DOHENY ROOM, WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO FOR FUN?
Nick: There’s a group of us that play beach volleyball every weekend, taking advantage of the amazing California weather. I’ve also always loved playing basketball and going to Lakers games. I also participate in a weekly poker game and enjoy just spending time with my girlfriend Alana and our dog & cat. Also to the surprise of many, I am in our sbe corporate offices daily coordinating logistics of all of our nightlife programming, promotions and operations, in addition to being at the venue at night. It is important to be involved in all elements of the venue for the brand to maintain the success, both behind the scenes and on the scene.
Cameron: I still Act, and have a TV show I’m currently writing and developing. I also am a partner in a clothing brand based in Downtown LA, called @hotel1171. Our signature HOTEL CA Satin bomber has been a winner for years, and we have some great collaborations coming out soon such as Malbon Golf, and with The Beverly Hills Hotel. When I’m not working you can find me on a basketball court, or at the beach.
WHAT’S THE MOST POPULAR MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
Nick: Making places “Popular” is what this career is all about.
Cameron: You’re Looking at It.